Electronic – the correct schematic symbol to use for virtual ground

groundschematicssymbol [~]virtual-ground

I'm following the design of a circuit requiring a power supply to provide something the author calls virtual ground, \$V_{gnd}\$. The circuit look like this:

enter image description here

However, I'm using KiCad for the design and out of all the available power supply symbols, I can't find any that seem appropriate. I'm already using both the earth ground and common/signal ground symbols for something else. In fact, from that schematic, I can't even tell if that virtual voltage is negative or positive.

I have also looked at these relevant questions:

Apart from just labeling the network as the author does…

Q: What would be a more appropriate symbol to replace \$V_{gnd}\$?

PS. Is it just me, or is this diagram extremely sloppy? It seem very strange that some power networks terminate in mid air, while others are just labelled in-circuit without any termination. I can't imagine this is standard design practice.


  • The battery is a 3.7V LiPo.
  • The U1 pins are "1" for + and "2" for -.
  • The pins for the AD8607 as shown above are wrong and should be:
    enter image description here

Best Answer

I wouldn't use the "earth" symbol unless I meant mains earth or Earth.

There are various ground symbols available.

enter image description here

Figure 1. From Ground, earth and chassis explained (by me).

In your case I would probably use the hollow ground symbol for the real ground and the solid ground symbol for the virtual ground.

enter image description here

Figure 2. Different ground symbols for primary ground and virtual ground.


  • R1 and 2 provide a VCC/2 reference.
  • C1 stabilises the reference voltage and keeps it constant during fluctuations in VCC.
  • U1 provides the virtual ground.
  • C2 is the supply decoupling capacitor for the op-amp.

From the comments:

The opamp is just a voltage follower? Why call Vcc/2 virtual ground?

Virtual ground appears to have several meanings. In the inverting amplifier op-amp configuration it refers to the inverting input as being very close to ground potential due to the high gain and negative feedback. In this case of Figure 2, below, and the OP's question it is a ground or reference for the audio signals and they alternate above and below that reference voltage and are equal to that reference voltage when the audio is quiescent.

The term seems to have high-level approval. See TI's datasheet for TLE2426, The "Rail Splitter precision virtual ground" device.

enter image description here

Figure 3. The Belton-Brick uses a virtual ground reference, VB, for biasing all all the op-amps in the audio signal chain to half-supply to allow for alternating audio voltages. (Double-click for high resolution.) Source: Hot Bottles.